Friday, June 23, 2017

Cycling in Alsace

The French are gradually installing touristic cycle routes across France. For many years if you saw a tourist cyclist in France he or she would be a foreigner. The French either used a rusty ladies bicycle from the 1920s to cycle beret-wearing to the boulangerie pick up a baguette or two, or they wore a helmet, sausage skin shorts and Lycra® tops on a road bike in an attempt to get fit enough to recreate the glory days of Le Tour, when the French won, i.e. sometime ago.  French cycle route planning was to issue maps put out by central government showing where it was intended to have cycle routes with no timetable for completion. Alsace was always somewhat of an exception to this as the Germans came over the border to cycle and enjoy a French way of life - very strong coffee, eclairs and vin rouge in an area where many people understand German, Alsace has also benefited from this discovery that cycle tourists are a good source of tourist euros and new routes have had signposting, etc. installed. For many years the only route that was signposted was the Rhine Route on the left bank of the Rhine between the French border in Lauterburg/Lauterbourg and the Swiss border in Basel/Basle/Bâle. Nowadays the Marne Rhine Canal towpath from Strasbourg towards Sarrebourg, the Saar Coal Mines Canal from Gondrexange north towards Saarbrücken, the Alsatian Wine Road Cycle Trail and the Rhone Rhine Canal from Mulhouse to Belfort are well signposted. There is more information on in English. The Alsatian Tourist authorities produce an excellent printed map of Alsace which includes lists of firms offering bicycling holidays and bike hire. Drop a postcard to Comité Régional du Tourisme d'Alsace, 20 A rue Berthe Molly, 68005 Colmar, France or an email to crt(at)

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